Mintel: Pet products industry to see continued growth

CHICAGO — Expect to see the pet products industry grow more than 30% over the next five years, a new Mintel report released this week suggested.

Because more than three-quarters (76%) of dog or cat owners consider their pets to be part of the family, products that go beyond basic necessities (i.e., food), such as apparel, toys, treats, veterinary care and grooming, are expected to help the industry grow 33% by 2016. What's more, pet food has gone beyond its basic purpose to become "functional," in order to offer four-legged companions additional health benefits. According to Mintel research, pet food that offered a "functional" claim has increased by 130% from 2006 to 2010.

"To maintain and continue such strong sales is an impressive feat in our tough economy and truly speaks to owners' commitment to their pets and manufacturers' ability to develop products that resonate with pet owners," Mintel senior analyst Fiona O'Donnell said. "We are noticing that innovations in the pet industry are mirroring innovations in human markets and since many owners consider pets as family members, this is not surprising.

"Despite the difficult economy, 50% of pet owners make unplanned toy and treat purchases for their pets and another 16% say they have cut back on extra household expenses in order to afford pet-related care … showing the true commitment of pet-parents," O'Donnell added.